The reason why we think it is interesting to approach the theme of Christmas and its connection with Spirituality is the need to shed light on the dimension of the inner truth of the human being, which brings a key to transmutation and transformation, which is usually associated with the alchemical science. Not an alchemy from the point of view of the transmutation of metals, from lead to gold, but of the transmutation of all aspects of our consciousness and our life.
Inner Christianity and Universal Teaching
Christianity, which so directly touches Western people, is a rich tradition, not only from the historical point of view and from the experience and tradition of all directly linked to its teachings, but, above all, regarding its interior dimension.
Thus, we contextualize Christianity as one of the traditions of what we know as Universal Teaching. Universal Teaching is the Truth manifested in man, which has used different symbols, languages, and approaches for different times, people, cultures and places. The mosaic that makes up the inner wisdom of all mankind is what the Golden Rosicrucian Spiritual School calls the Universal Teaching.
In this short text, Christianity will be treated from the point of view of external symbolism, that is, of exoteric Christianity, trying to bring all these symbols into the inner aspect, called esoteric.
Christmas and the birth of light
Christmas symbolizes the birth of light for all humanity, at a given time. This main symbol – a wonderful symbol of the possibility of transformation for all mankind – represents the birth of light in man.
To think of Christmas in this way implies that the inner Christmas can be celebrated at any moment of the year or of the human lifetime; and, from the moment that this Light, this universal principle, has the possibility of being born within the human being, he celebrates his life’s Christmas party for the first and only time.
And why for the first and only time?
Because, at the moment that the Light is born within the human being and he celebrates it, his life will never be the same. He becomes, unconsciously or intuitively, or even involuntarily, a seeker of Light. Such Light, which begins to shine as a principle within him, is born within him, leads him to find true peace, true happiness and true rest only when his consciousness and his life unite with this principle of universal Light.
The Symbology of Christian Holidays
Of the Christian holidays, we all know at least two: Christmas and Easter. However, these two are not the only important Christian celebrations. It is necessary to mention at least two more, Pentecost and Manisola (which was celebrated in the Middle Ages, but is currently not very well known).
These four Christian celebrations not only had their meaning as given by the narrative of the gospel characters, but they also represented four moments of transformation.
In the northern hemisphere, which is where such traditions were created, Christmas is directly associated with winter; Easter, with spring; Pentecost is connected with summer; and Manisola to fall. Beyond the obvious symbol of nature’s renewal, the four seasons – winter, spring, summer, and fall, in that order (considering Christmas in the northern hemisphere), indicate a cycle of transformation: a beginning, a development, a blossoming, and a crowning.
Given that many of these symbols were created when human culture was based directly on interaction with nature, it is important to note that a farmer sows after the winter, when the land has been dormant. Then he waits, in hope, that this good seed will germinate in the spring, when the flowers begin to emerge and nature begins to be reborn from the great sleep it had over the winter. This seed, which was planted and had germinated, grows in summer, becomes a robust plant, and will have flowers. The flowers, once fertilized, will bear fruit. And these will ripen and become food. Then the harvest will come.
So, these four celebrations (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Manisola), connected with the four seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall), indicate the four moments of change in nature, related to planting and life (sowing, germination, growth and fruiting).
However, focusing on our central theme, Christmas also represents the very special time when our consciousness is turned inward and – from the perspective of the outward world – seems to sleep. And, at that time, when consciousness has plunged into itself, there is a possibility that the seed of something completely new may manifest for the first time within the human being.
Christmas and inner alchemy
When consciousness ripens and, as in the spring, begins to look at nature again, and starts to learn again, from within, the meaning of life, that seed can then germinate and initiate a process of transmutation of consciousness. When such a process advances sufficiently and grows, a real transmutation, a transmutation of life takes place: it is the new fruits that represent the human being himself, who is a sapling of the Tree of Life. This human being can then manifest in a completely different way, which is why we can see in these four axes of the nature of Christianity, and Universal Teaching, the very alchemical metaphor of transmutation.
Alchemy also has four phases which can be correlated with the already mentioned Christian holidays, the seasons and the stages of agriculture. They are called Nigredo, Albedo, Citrinitas and Rubedo.
Nigredo represents the first phase, when in the inner recollection, in the “dark”,a seed, is placed in the consciousness.
The Albedo represents the manifestation, the illumination of the new consciousness.
The next phase, known as “The Peacock Tail” or Citrinitas, represents the unfolding of the seven colors of the rainbow as a lighted tail with all shades of the light spectrum. This means that consciousness has to build a bridge with the seven stages of transformation: lead, tin, iron, copper, mercury, silver and gold. This bridge represents all aspects of the human-being that need to be transmuted by the Albedo, that is, by this new awareness of a germinating seed that begins the new life cycle.
Lastly comes Rubedo, which is the union of gold and blood, hence the name Rubedo, which means “the red gold”.
Understanding the clear parallel that exists between the esoteric teaching of Christianity and the inner alchemy, we can turn to the real meaning of Christmas and seek it within ourselves at any time.
This theme continues to be addressed in the texts: Christmas and Spirituality – The Limit of Human Consciousness and also in Christmas and Spirituality – The New Human-Being.